The Polar Bear Study is being carried out by a team of psychologists, dental practitioners and researchers from the University of Manchester.

Our aims are multifaceted:

  • To help dental practitioners to have acceptable and effective conversations with parents & carers about making behaviour changes for better family oral health
  • To help dental practitioners to help parents & carers to make action plans to develop habits that support better oral health in families with young children
  • To reduce the number of children in the UK having teeth extracted under general anesthetic
  • To develop a dental workforce that are trained to use behavioural science confidently in their practice to help patients to develop good oral health habits

We have developed POLAR training, an online training programme and toolkit for dental professionals. We are currently running a pilot trail in Manchester, UK to develop and evaluate POLAR training. Our work is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) through their Research For Patient Benefit (RFPB) programme.

This website presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Update: The POLAR Bear Study (Covid-19 Pandemic)

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to routine dental services. This meant we’ve had to put recruiting practices for the POLAR Bear Study trial on hold. Meanwhile we are running a new study looking at the impact of the pandemic on delivery of oral health behaviour change and preventative support to families. We are talking with practitioners working in community and outreach services, and parents/carers of young children to explore the areas of need for oral health promotion during a national pandemic. We will use this information to understand how the POLAR training can be developed and evaluated to support this need.

Please feel free to follow us on Twitter (@PolarBearUOM) and Facebook (@PolarBearStudyUoM) to be kept up-to-date with POLAR Bear Study news and updates.

“Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable… Almost 9 out of 10 hospital tooth extractions among children aged 0 to 5 years are due to preventable tooth decay and tooth extraction is still the most common hospital procedure in 6 to 10 year olds”

Public Health England

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